Monday Classics: The Cape Codder (or the Vodka Cranberry)

Monday Classics: The Cape Codder (or the Vodka Cranberry)

As someone who loves making cocktails, one of the things that’s most fun for me is to listen in on what other people are ordering when they’re out. Sometimes it makes me crazy; you all know by now how I feel about the ubiquitous vodka club. Recently I was sitting at a bar taking note of the number of vodka cranberries that were being ordered. It’s a drink that’s fairly popular year round, but since it’s a summertime drink in Massachusetts known as The Cape Codder, it’s not surprising that it sees a resurgence during the warmer months. It was originally part of an Ocean Spray ad campaign back in the 1940s, when it was called The Red Devil, but its name was changed in the early ’60s. A refreshing blend of nothing more than cranberry, vodka, and a quick splash of lime, it also lends itself to a number of famous variations depending on the ingredient that gets added. Throw in some grapefruit juice and you have a Sea Breeze, pineapple juice will give you a Bay Breeze, orange juice a Madras, and adding some Peach Schnapps to that will have you drinking a Sex on the Beach.

To give The Cape Codder a more modern twist, I decided to go with a cranberry shrub rather that the typical Ocean Spray that tends to be served in many bars. I also muddled in some rosemary to start, kept the vodka and lime, served it in a shorter glass, and added in just a bit of Cherry Heering for sweetness, and club soda for effervescence. The end result kept the refreshing simplicity of the original, but also gave it just a bit of an upscale edge. And with the 4th of July behind us and summer entering into full swing, there’s not better time than now to make a batch of these for a summer party. Cheers!

Mid-Summer Days

2 oz Stateside vodka (distilled locally here in Philadelphia)
¼ oz Cherry Heering
2 oz Tait Farms cranberry shrub
¼ oz lime juice
1 oz club soda
Rosemary sprigs

Muddle one rosemary sprig gently in a cocktail shaker with the cranberry shrub. Add the remaining ingredients (except the club) and shake together with ice until very cold. Strain into an old-fashioned glass over a large cube and top with the club soda. Garnish with the other rosemary sprig. Enjoy!

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